Vang Vieng is a place that no one on earth knows about – except for backpackers.
Fresh faced travelers – like I once was – hear lore of this spot from backpackers with beards and worn out t-shirts and broken phone screens.
It is a one street town along a river where Spring Break rages all-year-long. Inhibitions get lost along the journey deep inside a country that nobody knows or cares about. An endless stream of mostly young European and Korean travelers converge here to engage in hedonism against a pristine mountain jungle backdrop.
This article covers the sex, drugs, and rock and roll of Vang Vieng.
Where to Stay and Logistics
The foundation of your experience will be where you stay. To optimize your good time, you need your lodging to accomplish several things:
- A convenient location
- Good social opportunities and atmosphere
- An attractive place to bring a girl back to
- A place where you can actually sleep while recovering
Location is a non-issue. Vang Vieng is so small that everything is in walking distance. You can also rent scooters for $5/day with no license – making every spot just two minutes away.
Expenses are also trivial. You can get acceptable lodging starting at $3 for a hostel bunk and $10 for a decent hotel room. Don’t sweat price shopping. Competition is fierce between the dozens of hostels and hotels, so the prices are consistent.
The crowded hostels with shared rooms are where all the social activities are. However, this is at odds with your other priority of having a private room where you can get laid – every night – by a variety of horny and hedonistic girls from all corners of the world.
Here’s an overview of the lodging options in Vang Vieng. I outline a hybrid lodging strategy to combine the best aspects of hostels and hotels.
The Best Party Hostels
I didn’t stay at a hostel during my time in Vang Vieng, I’m more of a lone wolf. However, I love to drunk drive motorbikes up and down random streets, just exploring. Two hostels clearly stood out as the center of partying in Vang Vieng. While I took these photos during the day, there were mad parties going on every evening.
Nana Backpacker Hostel is located right in the center of town on the main strip. My friend stayed there and said it was a non-stop pool party. It is steps away from some of the most popular bars. If you want to be able to crawl back home, this is the way to go.
Magic Monkey Hostel is located on the edge of town. It is a quieter and more beautiful setting and closer to the river, but I saw a lot of activity there too. This is more for the “eat mushrooms and chill” partier type.
Hostel vs Private Room & My Hybrid Solution
90% of the young travelers that go to Vang Vieng stay in crowded and cheap hostels ($3-$5/night). These hostels are great for making friends but make hooking up or sleeping difficult to impossible.
To maximize your fun, I advise the following three options:
Option 1. Book a private room at a hostel that also has shared bunk rooms
This is the best of both worlds. You benefit from the density of drunk girls and on-premises social activities that a hostel offers and your logistics are good with a private room on premises. The few extra bucks = exponentially more sex and sleep.
The problem is that the most fun hostels don’t usually offer private rooms.
Option 2. Book a hotel room across the street from a party hostel AND a bunk in the hostel
Research the best party hostel and then book there AND at a hotel nearby. You use your booking at the hostel to gain access to the parties, but can escape to your hotel when necessary. The max this will cost is $20/night total.
Options 3. Private Room
This is the way to go if you aren’t a party animal and can competently pick up girls in bars.
Unless you are totally broke, private rooms are cheap. The are about $15/night in the center of Vang Vieng and about $10/night if you’re a minutes drive on the outskirts. With a motorbike, you can easily stay on the outskirts.
They aren’t fancy, but you get A/C and big bed, and a private bathroom. Everything you need, nothing you don’t.
You should 100% rent a motorbike while in Vang Vieng. Although the entire town is walkable, scooters cost only $5/day. There are dozens of rental shops and most hostels/hotels rent also. You can drive them drunk and high and can be anywhere in town in under two minutes.
There aren’t really any other transport options. I didn’t see a single tuk-tuk or motorbike taxi, which I thought was odd.
More importantly, your own motorbike is the most efficient way to transport horny European and Korean backpacker girls back to your room. Just sling them across the back like a Mongolian horseman.
The ‘sports car’ approach
If you have the cash and like to play life on easy mode, rent an off-road buggy. They are considerably more expensive (about $12/hour), but I’m sure you can negotiate a much cheaper deal if you rent in the evening and return in the morning. Everything is negotiable.
The benefit of these is it is the equivalent in Vang Vieng of driving a Lamborghini. They are an easy countermeasure to the age old challenge of separating a girl from her friends at the bar so the romance can escalate.
You: “Hey, you wanna take a ride in my buggy?”
Her: “YEAH! Can my friend come?”
You: “No, only one extra seat.”
Her: “OK, lets go!”
Popular bars and how to drink for free
Vang Vieng is fueled by cheap alcohol. The local whiskey is actually cheaper than Coca-Cola! As cheap as it all is, you can pretty easily get drunk without paying a penny.
Several bars offer free drink happy hours. They are all at different times and the bars are close together so you can just migrate from one to another following the free drinks. The three most popular bars are Sakura Bar, Viva Pub, and Full Moon Bar.
Sakura Bar has free drinks from 8-9pm. However, it is pretty dead during this time as generally the crowds don’t make it out until after 9. Fortunately, Viva Pub has free drinks from 10-11pm which is a more appropriate time.
Laos has an official curfew in the country at midnight! This means that technically it is illegal to be on the street after 12. They don’t enforce this in Vang Vieng, but most establishments still close by midnight. Viva Pub and Full Moon bar stay open till 2 am. That’s about it. This isn’t a place where you can party till the brink of dawn.
Vang Vieng is a pretty lawless place. You can order a wide variety of drugs right off the menu in a few select bars.
The bars that offer drugs
As far as I know there are only three bars that openly serve drugs.
Rasta Bar. Obviously, the place for the laid back, reggae vibe. I visited here and it was a very chill atmosphere with a few people smoking opium.
Space Bar. Similar look to Rasta Bar. I didn’t visit this one, but saw more people there.
Milan Pizza. This is the place to go for “happy pizza.” It is conveniently located across the street from Viva bar.
Pharmacies in Southeast Asia carry a lot of drugs that are prescription only in the West. Valium and Xanax are available over the counter in most pharmacies in Laos for ridiculously low prices. Just ask for “sleeping pills.”
Valium is great to keep handy in your travel kit. It is relaxation and sleep in pill form. Xanax is similar, but actually gets you high – more for recreation.
Just don’t mix either of these with alcohol as that is dangerous.
Girls in Vang Vieng
This town has a palpable, hedonistic atmosphere. It attracts young hippie, free love types of girls from primarily Western Europe and South Korea. The geographic isolation and ambiance of the surrounding mountains and jungle = about the most promiscuous environment on Earth.
Laos Girls – The Forbidden Fruit
For those that pursue the goal of experiencing local girls, Laos proves a bit tricky.
It is actually illegal for a foreigner to sleep with a Laos girl (unless married). And they are serious about it.
If you bring a Laos girl back to your hotel room, it is a real possibility that the hotel staff will call the cops on you (and probably get a lucrative kick-back for doing so). Apparently a foreigner can face $5,000 in fines! The girls risks prison and social ostracization from her village.
I was chilling outside my hotel when a random guy approached me and kept repeating “bam-bam….bam-bam.” I looked at him like he was a stuttering retard until he made the universal “finger in hole” hand motion. Ahhh, I see.
Then, in broken English, he told me he could bring a Laos girl to my room for “bam-bam.” There was a bit of emphasis on the world Laos girl when he said it. He seemed too eager.
This was a setup if I ever saw one. Likely, he’d bring the girl, give me enough time to take my pants off and surely some corrupt cops would burst in and demand a hefty bribe from me to stay out of prison. From other stories I’ve heard, it seems the going price is $600 to get the police off your back – but officially the fine can be $5,000.
I told the guy to “go bam-bam himself” as I gestured for him to leave me alone.
Holy shit, Korean girls are quickly rising in the ranks to out-slut even European girls. It appears their culture is in a transition period towards Western-style promiscuity. The type of Korean girls that would travel to a place like Vang Vieng are the tip of the spear of this movement.
If you are a white a guy, you will likely be the “big” new experience she has been hoping to find on her trip. A good tactic is to venue change her to one of the bars where you can smoke weed (they all seem curious about this too). She’ll likely end up satisfying both of her curiosities with you in one night.
These girls party much harder than their Korean counterparts. By the end of the night, many of them are drunk and high out of their minds.
While the Koreans often travel with male friends, many European girls are just in groups of girls.
If your a Westerner, you won’t score any ‘exotic’ advantage like you do with Koreans or Thais, but it is pretty much the same scenario you see in bars back home – only with more drugs and extra travel horniness.
While not in great numbers, Thailand is close so there are a decent amount of Thai cuties out and about. While not as hungry seeming as the Koreans, they are on vacation and away from home so will be easier than usual.
Note, however, that some of the Thai girls are actually prostitutes so use good judgement to avoid a surprise charge at the end of fun time. There are also some Thai lady boys on the prowl, but if you can’t see them a mile away, then well, there’s no helping you.
Despite all of Vang Vieng’s vices, there isn’t a ‘red light district’ or obvious prostitution like you see Thailand.
I noticed a few girls at the bars that were obviously free-lancers, probably Thai. Most massage places looked legit, but I did pass by one around midnight on the main strip and a girl insinuated that a happy ending was an option. Also, an Australian guy that was smoking on opium told me there were some shacks outside of town serving as a mini brothel for locals.
Laos is conservative for Southeast Asia, but it is still Asia – there will always be some kind of sex for sale somewhere. However, considering how easy it is to get laid by normal drunk girls and the laws against fornicating with Laos girls, it seems an unnecessary risk.
Vang Vieng is one of the few places on Earth that give you a taste of freedom (or anarchy). These vice zones don’t tend to last forever, so enjoy this one while it lasts.
As you travel, listen to the bearded guys in hostels with broken phone screens – they’ll let you know about any new spots in the world that pop up.